Nestled in the quaint
After a leisurely drink at the bar and a perusal of the menu, our meals began with a pair of the special starters. I went for the tiger prawns; an appetising start, with the tender prawns paired well with garlic, chilli and ginger, plus some exceptional homemade bread. My partner chose the potted crab, which was packed full of crab meat, with a seasoning that managed to be flavoursome but not overpowering. The accompanying thin slices of tasty sourdough were exactly what the meal needed.
A good starter moved to an exceptional main. Potted crab was followed by a sirloin steak, which was served with ample-sized triple cooked chips and a superb Café de Paris butter. The meat was perfectly cooked and refreshingly lean, without an inch of fat on it. Juicy and well-seasoned, it was one of the best steaks my partner has had in Oxfordshire. Having contemplated the venison burger, I instead chose the braised shin of beef. A tender, mouth-watering slice of meat, it came with delectable creamed wild mushrooms and scrumptious pomme puree. Our mains showed us why The Mole Inn is such a well-liked establishment.
With desserts our meal wobbled, ever so slightly. My partner and I both chose dark chocolate puddings but ended up having vastly different experiences. The dark chocolate tart proved a disappointment. Lacking in flavour, it was neither as intense nor rich as you would expect from a dark chocolate tart. The pastry base was also quite soggy, which meant there was no texture to it. My chocolate cake, on the other hand, was fabulous. A rich but approachable climax to an exceptional meal, it came with a salted caramel ice cream that was restrained enough to only offer a hint of salt, which in this instance was a good thing. What brought the dessert all together was a thin shard of chocolate that jutted out the top. Presentation of all our courses was exceptionable, elevating the meal into something special.
A disappointing dessert aside, it is hard to fault The Mole Inn. The staff were friendly and attentive whilst never being intrusive, the atmosphere peaceful and the surroundings a pleasing mix of fancy and rustic. It has to be said that The Mole Inn is a pricey meal choice, with our bill coming to over £100 once service had been added to the top. But it just about manages to be worth every penny. For every pudding that didn't quite work, there was a steak that was a contender for best in the county.